COVID is here again!

Published on 01 February 2021

Photo of Mayor, Sheryl Mai.

I hope you’re all enjoying this long weekend, it’s important that we make the most of these opportunities as they come, to prepare for the busy year ahead. Today we commemorate the arrival of Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson into the Bay of Islands in 1840. Although I’m enjoying the break, I can’t help but feel we should be focusing more on our unique cultural celebrations (such as Matariki) rather than commemorations of colonisation. However, I do acknowledge that it’s also important to remember these events.

As I sit to write this column, there is still uncertainty around how - or if - the celebrations for our next long weekend, Waitangi Day, will go ahead. I really feel for the organisers of this national event and local events, with the current climate of uncertainty it must be so hard to know how to move forward. Spare a thought for the people who are having to plan for all eventualities, as they prepare for alert level changes and have contingencies for every possibility. The preparation that goes into this new type of event planning is unbelievable. Thank you to everyone in this industry, it’s not an easy profession to be in right now.  

From the moment we received notice of a probable COVID-19 case in Northland, a tremendous amount of planning, coordinating, and caring started behind the scenes. We won’t know the half of the discussions and forums that were held to respond to this crisis. Everyone had to respond so quickly, the resources and planning involved is immense. I was really pleased to have been invited via Zoom to the Northland Iwi Leaders forum, which was yet another strand of COVID-19 responsiveness in our takiwā.

These are the things that we prepare for in peace time, so that plans can be implemented quickly utilising the strong networks we’ve already established within our communities.

I’m aware that our COVID-19 situation as a District might already have changed from the time of writing to when you read this. Events are moving so quickly that it’s impossible to predict what stage we’ll be in from one day to the next.

Right now, our community is still reeling from the developments and, like all of you, I have been following the news and tuning in to the live briefings. The most important point is that we continue to follow the guidance of our two lead agencies: the Ministry of Health and Northland District Health Board.

Understandably, we’re all on alert. We take this pandemic seriously, and I urge everyone to continue following Ministry of Health guidelines, only visiting testing stations in the case of an alert on your app or a direct link to a confirmed case.

Always use your COVID Tracer App, turn Bluetooth on, contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or call your GP to see if you need to have a test. Stay home if you are unwell, wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and cough and sneeze into your elbow.

Having trust in our system will ensure this pandemic remains under control on our shores, and hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate Waitangi Day and all future public holidays as planned.

Tagged as: